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The Marshall And Barney Theory That Changes Everything On HIMYM

"How I Met Your Mother" is regarded as one of the best sitcoms of the last two decades, using the great framework of an older Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) telling his kids the tale of how he met their mother Tracy McConnell (Cristin Milioti). But because the show lasted for eight years, the writers occasionally backed into a few continuity problems with the way the overall story shifted direction — like the way they clearly suggested for years that Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and Ted (played on-screen by Josh Radnor) were destined to be together, despite the fact that the show is clear that Robin is not the mother.

But obviously that was swapped out when the writers crafted a genuinely touching relationship between Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin, while Ted winds starting a family with Tracy. However, all the inconsistencies can be put down to the fact that Ted is constantly an unreliable narrator, shaping the events in a way that paints him in a better light for his kids. So, what else did he change in the story that led him to eventually meeting Tracy on the day of Barney and Robin's wedding? Well, a surprising fan theory suggests that Ted wasn't actually all that important to the gang. Here's the fan theory about Ted's two best friends that could change everything about "How I Met Your Mother."

Were Marshall and Barney the real best friends in the group?

One popular Internet fan theory suggests that Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) and Barney were best friends all along — instead of Ted and Marshall. Although most of Ted's stories from college and beyond involve Marshall in some way, the theory posits that Ted is a very conceited person and is pretty judgemental of those around him. One recurring joke sees Marshall and Barney fight over who is really Ted's best friend — which is quite funny, but it also seems like Ted might be overcompensating his friendship with both of them in hindsight.

It's possible that Ted's conceited nature meant that he was too proud to admit that he wasn't actually as close to Marshall or Barney as he liked to think he was. Of course he was a part of the gang — otherwise 99% of the episodes wouldn't exist — but maybe Ted wanted to make himself look cool in front of his children. There's no hard evidence backing up this theory, except for the fact that Ted's narration is notably unreliable throughout "How I Met Your Mother," as he gets certain events mixed up or remembers them in a different light. He frequently remembers people's names wrong or has forgotten them completely — like Katy Perry's minor character who was only known as "Honey" rather than her actual name, or his ex-girlfriend "Blah Blah" (Abigail Spencer). 

This would make the series a little bittersweet and almost a bit sad on Ted's behalf, but it absolutely fits with who the hopeless romantic really is. Unfortunately, the theory doesn't change the polarizing ending, but it's still pretty interesting to think about.